Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Of Sleeping, and Not Sleeping

I am a night owl.

That’s not really a fair description. I’m sure most owls don’t spend their nights lying in bed staring at a computer screen. If they did they’d die of starvation. Most owls don’t have unrequited lustings after stars of the screen or obsessions with certain television series. Most owls don’t write novels. (I have to wonder what an owl’s novel would be like, although since my latest novel contains a character who, at times, thinks she’s an owl, perhaps I’ve tried to answer my own question.)

But anyway, here I am. I prefer to go up to bed at around eleven. I prefer not to go to sleep until about two. I could push that later, but owing to the feeling of having some responsibility to be awake in the daylight hours, I don’t. I’m lucky that I have a very accommodating husband. (I’m not going to start referring to my family members as ‘DH,’ ‘DS1,’ ‘DS2,’ etc., which makes them sound like gaming consoles.)

It’s a shame that I’m not trying to write this in that lovely quiet time before two a.m.. Then I wouldn’t be typing one handed while a two year old shoves a Weetabixy spoon into my face and screams at me. But my tendency to stay awake until the small hours is why I find this article so reassuring.  Apparently, ‘more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal than less intelligent individuals.’ This pleases me. This means that while I’m lying under my quilt staring at my computer screen becoming more and more dejected because I can’t make words flow or think of a plot for a new story, I’m being super intelligent. It means all those infuriating, bouncy, ‘I couldn’t be so lazy’ type morning larks are the dull and brain-dead among us.

Owl, by Jennicatpink on Flickr.
This is roughly how I look if I wake up too early in the morning.
I know this isn’t the most social way to live. I force myself to turn off around two. I wake up somewhere around 11 a.m., if I’m lucky; later, if I’m really lucky. If I’m prised out of bed earlier than that I tend to roam around with my face creased up into an attempt to pretend I’m still asleep and do things on automatic pilot. If I have to walk the children to school I usually haven’t brushed my hair or looked in a mirror or changed out of the t-shirt I slept in. I stay alert just long enough to walk back, before slipping back under a quilt at the earliest opportunity, putting an audiobook into my ears, and going back to find inspiring dreams.

Later in the year, perhaps, when I’m not pushed into a dreary, uncreative mire by the curse of winter, I might use those precious after-midnight hours to write something of worth. Until then I’ll keep on staring vacantly at the computer screen, and writing bad poetry. But at least I have the reassurance of Psychology Today that I’m intelligently unproductive.


  1. That would probably explain why I am being so dumb at the moment, having to go to sleep by 11 in the evening and having to be up at half 7 in the morning!

    1. I think having small children explains that ;-)